Judge Wetzel is of counsel to the firm. He practices in the Business and Commercial Litigation Practice Group and the Municipalities and Local Agencies Industry Team. Prior to joining Harris Beach, he served as New York State Supreme Court Justice for the 1st Judicial District, New York County (1995-2009), and in the 9th Judicial District, Westchester County (2009-2010). In 1995, prior to serving as Supreme Court Justice, he was appointed to the New York State Court of Claims. Judge Wetzel decided more than 1,000 civil matters and conducted more than 400 jury trials of felony crimes. He started his legal career with a New York City law firm and in 1971, founded Plunkett, Wetzel, & Jaffe (now Plunkett and Jaffe). His practice included civil and criminal trials in federal and state courts, municipal law, and corporate law.
From 1979-1991, Judge Wetzel was executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Reeves Communications Corporation, where he was responsible for all legal, administrative and regulatory matters, and supervised outside legal advisors and auditors. The public company was sold in 1991. Judge Wetzel then entered private practice and focused on civil litigation, real estate, and commercial law until his appointment to the Court of Claims in 1995. For many years, he served Briarcliff Manor as a village trustee (1977-1985), deputy mayor (1985-1990), mayor (1990-1992), and village justice (1992-1995).
Professional & Community Activities
For 20 years, Judge Wetzel was an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. He served on more than 50 panels of one or three arbitrators. He is also qualified as a mediator for the American Arbitration Association.